Driven - - Heritage -

SINCE THE FIAT/CHRYSLER GROUP WAS fi­nal­is­ing its merger, the group was un­able to pro­vide to­tal sales fig­ures for the month of April. It did de­liver a sales es­ti­mate of 350 units, though, and this brought the na­tional tally of new car sales to what looks like a rea­son­able 36,346 units.

De­spite a dra­matic drop in sales for Toy­ota (8,213 units), it still man­aged to re­tain its over­all lead­er­ship po­si­tion with the best-sell­ing Hilux (2,679) and For­tuner (879) form­ing the back­bone of the Ja­panese mar­que’s April sales. Units car­ry­ing the Corolla/Auris/Quest badges also put up a strong show­ing with 771 units sold. How­ever, the RAV4 (337) con­tin­ues to play sec­ond fid­dle to Volk­swa­gen’s Tiguan which, when the 114 sales of the Allspace are added to that of the stan­dard ver­sion’s 424 sales, ex­tends the sales gap even fur­ther. Toy­ota’s lux­ury di­vi­sion, Lexus, con­tin­ues to strug­gle along with an un­easy 48-unit to­tal.

As the re­cur­rent brides­maid, Volk­swa­gen stays in sec­ond place over­all with an equally mod­est (by its stan­dards) 6,261 to­tal, sup­ported to a large ex­tent by both the Polo Vivo moniker on 2,123 and the newly launched Polo that raked in 1,907 units. A to­tal of 625 ve­hi­cles from its Audi di­vi­sion also found new homes.

De­spite a mas­sive sales drop of more than 2,000 units for a to­tal of 3,570, Ford re­mains in the third over­all spot while lean­ing heav­ily on the Ranger (2,372) and the Ever­est (312), and only 213 for the EcoS­port.

This brings Nis­san, cur­rently in fourth place with a 3,403 to­tal, within strik­ing dis­tance of Ford. Nis­san’s stars in­clude the NP200 (1,058), and the NP300 work­horse that recorded 370 units. The Datsun GO man­aged 447 sales, while the Almera came to the party with 409. The Qashqai won over 246 new own­ers to sign on the dot­ted line.

Korean car­maker Hyundai shed some 400 sales when com­pared with March this year, but still recorded a to­tal of 2,633 sales — led by the Grand i10 on 1,013, the Creta, which went to 611 new homes, and the Tuc­son with a slightly dis­ap­point­ing 227 units sold.

De­spite drop­ping with al­most 300 sales, Re­nault (1,611) moves up into the 6th over­all po­si­tion — tak­ing over from Mercedes-Benz that slides down into 8th over­all with a mod­est to­tal of 1,385 sales. Re­nault con­tin­ues to rely on the Kwid (693), its Duster on 313 sales, and 261 San­dero II units.

Mean­while, BMW man­aged to get ahead of Mercedes-Benz with a small mar­gin of just eight units. The 3 Se­ries found 502 new own­ers, and the lo­cally assem­bled X3 se­cured 244 sales. Sadly, the re­cently launched X2 failed to con­vince buy­ers — at­tract­ing only 41 new own­ers.

Isuzu re­mains in 9th over­all with a 1,310 to­tal and am­bi­tious eyes cast in the di­rec­tion of the un­der-pres­sure MercedesBenz, es­pe­cially with the in­tro­duc­tion of its re­cently launched MU-X SUV.

Tenth over­all goes to Kia (1,304). Kia’s cham­pi­ons were the Pi­canto on 798, the Rio (246), and the Sportage on 114 units sold.

Of the man­u­fac­tur­ers/im­porters fall­ing out­side the top ten rank­ings, Mazda (1,294) came within a whisker (10 units) of match­ing Kia for the 10th po­si­tion.

De­spite shedding 311 sales, Suzuki (700) also hung in there, while Honda’s 446 units re­main mod­est. On the more pre­mium front, Jaguar/Land Rover’s 305 sales were noth­ing to write home about, while Volvo Cars (207) showed an al­most 50% im­prove­ment com­pared to last month. In stark con­trast to the other ma­jor Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers, Mit­subishi (123) should be per­form­ing bet­ter, es­pe­cially given the tal­ents of its an­gu­lar Pa­jero Sport. Porsche’s steep de­cline to only 74 units sold seem slightly pe­cu­liar, but this can be at­trib­uted to any num­ber of rea­sons.

With ex­ports ex­pected to show sub­stan­tial growth in the months ahead, it’s pos­si­ble that 2018 will see a 3% over­all im­prove­ment in do­mes­tic sales.

Be­low: South Africans seem to re­act favourably to the ex­tended Volk­swa­gen Tiguan as it sold an im­pres­sive 114 units in April

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